Duck Soup is one of my favorite Marx Brothers movies, if not my absolute favorite. (Animal Crackers, Horse Feathers, and A Night at the Opera are also in my top 5 favorites). A lot of the comedy and satire holds up very well today. We still have plenty of egotistical self-absorbed politicians squabbling with each other childishly, and movies like this help point out how absurd politicians and war can be.
Plus there’s the usual delightful verbal humor, slapstick, sight gags, and ridiculousness we expect from the Marx Brothers, but in a movie much faster paced than usual thanks to the complete omission of straight-faced romantic subplots and serious songs. Some love the movie for that, while others like having the more straight elements to balance things out, but I think the absence of the usual straight elements helps this particular movie and its overall premise.
In any case, it’s a true comedy classic.
I think that is the key – no romantic subplot. No boring man and woman to detract from the zaniness of the Marx Brothers. I like a Night at the Opera, but the weakest part is the inclusion of a romantic subplot. Duck Soup just focuses on the Marx Brothers and because of that it’s insanity from start to finish.
Easily one of my favorite comedies of all time. It was also my gateway to the rest of the Marx Brothers movies.
God bless the AFI. I first heard of this movie when they did their 100 years TV special. I found so many great movies there.
I know a lot of people consider this the best Marx Brothers movie, and I agree it has a LOT of great jokes in it, but there are times when it just feels a bit too unstructured. I understand the goal was to show how chaotic war and politics can be, it just feels like they might have succeeded a bit too well, if that makes sense. To me, the Marxes worked best when they had a more serious or romantic subplot to help ground their antics and make the comedic moments shine brighter. I don’t know if I explained myself well, but that’s just how it is to me. Still love this movie, though my personal favorite remains A Night at the Opera.
It was because of Duck Soup that we got A Night at the Opera. Duck Soup was considered so insane that no studio ever let the Marx Brothers off the leash again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love A Night at the Opera and several of the movies that followed, but for me it is the pure anarchy of this, Horse Feathers, and Monkey Business that get me laughing.
No argument with you there. I love those movies for their insanity, but I just prefer the ones with a more grounded story. Though I also have a fondness for Animal Crackers – that was the first Marx Brothers movie I ever saw and I watched it so much that I knew the dialogue from memory.
An absolute classic of comedy.
They just don’t make em like this anymore.
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